Zynga settled a lawsuit and--surprise--they weren't the victims of it. Venture Beat reports that FarmVille creator Zynga and Playdom brought their year-long legal battle to an end today over some trade secrets that were allegedly stolen by former Zynga employees and used by Playdom to develop new games. According to Zynga, when four former employees went to join the enemy (well, one of the enemies), they took some of the company's secrets to success with them.
Zynga general counsel Reggie Davis said to Venture Beat, "The settlement reflects the very serious nature of the conduct involved, as reflected by the preliminary injunction, restraining orders, and contempt order issued by the Santa Clara Superior Court. We have great respect for Disney and are thankful that following its acquisition of Playdom, Disney resolved the matter to our satisfaction."
Raymond Holmes, David Rohrl, Martha Sapeta, and Scott Siegel, the former Zynga employees, allegedly took several secrets of their former boss's including "The Zynga Playbook," which contained the company's "secret sauce" for nearly dominating the social games arena for the past three years.
Playdom admitted that Zynga files, including an entire game idea, had been transferred to Playdom computers and used to compete with the company, Venture Beat reports. But it gets worse, Zynga alleges that Playdom actually hacked Zynga servers, stole data on 1.6 million Zynga Poker players and used that information to solicit its then-new Poker Palace game.
This legal struggle plainly displays the fact that in this nascent industry, companies are willing to do anything to make as much dough as possible. Though, Zynga doesn't fight as clean as this situation makes them appear to. Recently, it was reported by the San Francisco Chronicle that the company's founder and CEO "doesn't f**king want innovation" and that one of their many methods of success stems from copying common social gaming tropes and perfecting them. The question is, how long can this type of behavior sustain before it negatively affects the entire industry?